Monday, December 24, 2012

Learn to Make Better Decisions

A Review of "The Best Question Ever" by Andy Stanley

Can one question really help you make the right decisions in every area of your life?  Andy Stanley says, "Yes!"  Whether a decision involves your love life, employment options, or everyday activities, one simple question can inform your decision.  If you are tired of regrets, tired of making apologies, and tired of fixing your mistakes, learn to make better choices the first time.

Stanley brings a pastor's perspective and experiences to this book.  Many of the problems he saw/sees in his office could have been avoided if the party/parties had asked a simple question.  While it is a bit annoying that he does not reveal the actual question until several chapters have elapsed, it is well worth the wait.

One quote from the book really sums up the problems in most of our lives: "…while nobody plans to mess up his life, the problem is that few of us plan not to."  Ouch!  He's talking to me.  I recommend this book for inclusion in every church library, pastor's study, and counselor's resource collection.  It is also a useful read for everyone else.  Consider giving it to a high school or college student facing many decisions.

I received a free review copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multonomah publishers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Great Stories Relate to the Greatest Story

A Book Review of  "Finding God in The Hobbit" by Jim Ware

Though "The Hobbit" is not an allegory, it is a great story.  Great stories are great because they reflect in some ways our own stories.  "The Hobbit" is about journeys, friendships, and the struggle against evil.  We love or despise the characters because they tell us things about our own souls.

In "Finding God in 'The Hobbit'" Jim Ware brings his knowledge of theology and literature together in an exploration of Tolkein's classic children's tale: a tale that came to be beloved by readers of all ages.  In each chapterhe shares a story from the book and relates it to our own life journeys.  As Ware says, "God meets us…in that miraculous place where the Word becomes Flesh; the place where we…find ourselves swept up into the plot of the greatest Story of all." (p.166)

This quality hardcover book would make a thoughtful gift for anyone who loves English literature or Tolkein's work in particular.  Its small size (about 8 x 5 inches) makes for convenient reading, too.

I received a free review copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The World Needs Fearless Women

Book Review: "Fearless Daughters of the Bible" by J. Lee Grady

This beautiful and engaging book has 15 chapters, each about women from the Bible who courageously followed God's call even when it went against tradition.  These women were willing to be misunderstood, to endure danger, and to walk by faith, not by sight. 

After profiling each biblical woman, Grady gives modern examples of women who displayed the same character traits as the biblical example.  For instance, in Chapter Two we meet the daughters of Zelophehad.  They appealed to Moses because of the unfairness of inheritance laws that would cause their father's name to disappear from their tribe because he had no sons.  Almighty God told Moses these women were right.  The law was changed to conform to God's ruling.  The modern example for this chapter was Rosa Parks, who also faced obstacles and challenged the unjust practices of her day.

Each chapter ends with "A Message from your Heavenly Father" in which Grady describes a blessing or affirmation God offers his daughters.  The author is father to four daughters and has an obvious passion for encouraging women to become all God made them to be.  This would be an excellent book for a Bible study class or as a graduation gift for a young woman.

I received a free review copy of this book from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Company.